Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Miss Music

Many of you know how much I love Sirius Satellite Radio. Many of you also know how much I love Howard Stern. Both of them are life changing if you spend more than ten minutes in a vehicle every day. I spend no less than an hour in a vehicle every day, and some days as much as four or six hours driving. I drive 25 minutes to work, then put my satellite radio in my live truck. Howard's show starts at 6 a.m. and typically goes until 11 a.m. It's then replayed all day so most of the time I'll hear the entire show in my daily travels.

Listening to so much Stern keeps me from listening to any music. Thank God Howard takes Fridays off and I make it all music all the time Fridays. Last Friday morning after leaving The Lady's my favorite Sirius channel ripped off thirty minutes of absolutely whip ass music. It was a run of tunes that set my mood for the rest of the day. I smiled a sincere smile on the interstate as I guided my pickup truck to the house. I loved it.

It made me realize I need to listen to less Howard and more music. I don't think it's going to happen since the Howard Stern show makes me piss my pants and entertains me so much on a daily basis, but I at least need to give it an effort. Through Wednesday I've still pretty much been all Howard. Wish me luck. Please.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NBC Nightly News

I celebrated MLK day by hopping in a live truck at 6 a.m. with Johnell Johnson and getting it down I-77 to Columbia where the Democratic presidential candidates were campaigning for Saturday's primary. It started with a church service downtown and was followed by Barack Obama marching with hundreds of others to the state house where the NAACP held a big assed rally in honor of Dr. King. It was a very, very busy day for Johnell and I so I didn't have a chance to snap any good pics. Except for one. I was scanning the huge crowd and noticed a distinguished white haired dude about 70 yards away.
It was Tom Freakin' Brokaw! They don't make them like Tom anymore. I like to think I don't get starstruck after ten years in this business, but it was cool to see Brokaw. More Americans watched him in the post Cronkite era than anyone else. He was interviewing a bunch of people in the crowd. I'm not sure what for, but it was nice to see a legend in action.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Grand Opening

Saturday didn't suck. Unfortunately, The Lady was called in to work to help with inclement weather coverage which meant I had a Saturday with no plans. A quick call to tv's Kris Cook turned into three hours of beer drinking and video games which is the right thing to do on a rainy Saturday. For the record, Cook beat me in both Madden and college football, the former in an overtime thriller. I beat him in hockey and soccer.About 10:00 I rolled over to Central Ave. for the Thirsty Beaver Saloon's opening night. The parking lot was packed so I had to park across the street. That's a good sign for business. I walked inside and saw a bar that was slammed with people enjoying themselves. Brian greeted me at the door and I filled out the government required membership application. Since Brian and Mark aren't selling food at their establishment, state law forces them to be a private club which means everyone has to fill out an application. Brian ran out of membership cards early in the evening and ran out of applications by eleven. Obviously they weren't expecting the sizable crowd that showed up.
Mark was a busy man behind the bar pouring drinks and opening cans of domestic beer. Those beers included Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller High Life, Miller High Life Light, Miller Lite, Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light and Yuengling. One of their pals in the neighborhood is the Heineken rep so they carry Heineken and Heineken Light in a separate refrigerator next to the bar. Anyway, thanks to the shit ton of people that came out Saturday, the bar's opening was an enormous success. I think a part Brian and Mark are still can't believe they own a bar and actually made some money Saturday. Whilst making my way to the bar for another High Life Light the nice young lady pictured above stopped me saying, "Excuse me, I know this sounds weird but I think I commented on your blog today." It turns out she and her boyfriend Shane met a dude earlier Saturday that told them about the Beaver, so she googled it and up came the previous blog post. I'll be damned. Christa and Shane were nice folks and seemed to be having a good time.
Everyone was having a good time. Campbell was enjoying High Life Lights along with Heather, Brooke and Chris. I'll probably get to see Heather more now that The Beaver's open. Hell, I'll get to see a lot of people more now that I don't see often enough. I see Brook and Chris about twice a year but I damn sure enjoy their company those two times a year. Good people. The Thirsty Beaver whips ass like everyone knew it would. The bar is an extension of Brian and Mark's personalities which means it's full of good times. If you're own Central Ave, drop in and ring the doorbell. One of them will be behind the bar to let you in for a can of cold beer.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

That Beaver Looks Thirsty

There's a new bar in town. It opens Saturday night and I'm stoked. My pals Brian and Mark Wilson open the Thirsty Beaver Saloon tomorrow, and it's going to whip serious ass. They've been working for several weeks on the dive bar they've always wanted. Brian painted the beaver himself but tells me it's not finished yet. It will get a cowboy hat, better cowboy boots and a bigger beer mug before the doors are opened. I called him yesterday for details as he was placing an order at the ABC store. That's right, in North Carolina you can only by liquor from the government. Socialist Fuckers. Anyway, Brian said he was tired of spending money so it was time to open up and make some. There will be country music(real country music, not any of that Toby Keith bullshit,) cheap beer and zero cigarette smoke. Yep, Brian and Mark are opening what's likely the first smoke free honky tonk in the country that wasn't forced to be by the government. If you're in Charlotte, USA with nothing to do, roll down Central Avenue near Hawthorne and have an iced cold beer at the Thirsty Beaver.


Covering Mayor Pat's announcement gave me the rare opportunity to play poker at Travers' Tuesday night. Absolutely nothings changed. Well, except for a new table which may or may not have had Smithwick's spilled on it. And everyone's a better poker player, too.
Jim also has a sweet new logo on his tournament manager software. I played a lot better than I thought I would considering it was only the second time I'd played in probably eight months. I ended up finishing third which would have put me in the money if we were actually playing for money.
While the poker tournament is important, more important was the beer drinking and gas competition. Television's own Kris Cook and Travers opened with impressive efforts, but the newly humble Tracy Hollifield blasted one that covered the entire table and even sent one player outside. Congratulations Tracy!


I don't talk about politics much on this blog. I may have to start since I'll be covering a ton of politics for the rest of the year. Mark Smith and I hit the road Tuesday morning for Jamestown where Charlotte USA Mayor Pat McCrory grew up. Mark drove on the way up. I'm not really a great passenger in a live truck. I'm so used to driving it feels weird sitting in the passenger seat. Luckily Mark's somewhat of a geeky driver like myself. And by geeky I mean he and I are the only people I know after buying a new vehicle, the first trip we make in our new vehicles is to an auto parts store for blind spot mirrors. So, since Mark's a good driver, I felt fine in the passenger seat. Anyway, Mayor Pat was there to announce he's running for governor after winning his seventh term as Mayor a few months ago. There's been a ton of speculation the last few years that McCrory would run for a higher office so this wasn't a huge surprise, but I'm really glad to see it. An extreme fiscal conservative I don't often agree with the very moderate Republican Mayor Pat, but dude as many things done for Charlotte as Peyton Manning has for television commercials. Mayor Pat is a political machine. A good looking, likable dude who doesn't seem like the high powered politician he is when you talk to him.
North Carolina hasn't had a governor from the western part of the state since Jim Martin in the 80's, thus any place west of Raleigh tends to get shat on when it comes to many state funded issues. Hopefully Mayor Pat or whoever wins can change that. The campaign made the right decision holding the announcement in the central part of the state. Damn near every station form the state's three largest markets were there for the festivities. Luckily our Greensboro station did most of the work for the live stuff leaving me to the always important cutaway duty. Shawn Flynn and I turned a package for 4:00 and were back in Charlotte shortly after 6.

Pete Kaliner and his news gathering Ford Taurus joined made it a convoy back down I-85. Flynn did a fine job snapping pics from a live truck moving at 75 miles per hour. They should give Pete his own show. It would get me to tune away from satellite radio for three hours every day.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Sunday night The Lady and I typically watch football. Yes, I realize how effing awesome that is. The love of my life enjoys sitting on the couch and watching football. With the regular season over, we've no football to watch which means we're done watching The Amazing Race by about 9:30. By then, we're bored. I headed towards her place around nine and got a feeling I should cook dinner. It's not something either one of us do often because we both work nights. Even then, I cook far less than she. I dropped by the Lowe's Foods and decided on stir-fry tofu with couscous. I shat on tofu for years as not tasting good, but after years with vegetarians, it's not so bad. There's not much taste but when you fry it up in steaming hot sesame oil with vegetables, it's filling and tasty. Bored with rice I grabbed a box of toasted pine nut couscous. It was stupid easy to make and tasted great.

After ten minutes of cooking I realized the food I'd prepared looked really good. The Lady tasted it and agreed. I wish it had actually been hard to make. We watched The Food Network later on and I was feeling all badass like I could cook. I realized all I did was dump tofu and vegetables in a pan and stir them around for 12 minutes. Then I boiled some water, stirred in some olive oil, spices and semolina wheat pasta and proceeded to let it sit there for five minutes. There was zero degree of difficulty. At least it tasted good. I think I may cook again next Sunday. Maybe I'll do something more difficult. It may suck.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I Want to Be More Like This Guy

The first time I visited Bryan Frank's blog a couple years ago, I thought it was boring. Maybe it was a couple of posts I read and took the wrong way, but it didn't do much for me.

A few months ago I checked the blog again and I freakin' love it. BFrank is a news photographer in Los Angeles who does something most tv photogs like us don't do very well. He takes professional grade still shots while he's out on his assignments. But this isn't really what I like about BFrank. He enjoys simple things in life, then writes simply about them. He subtly mentions how much he loves spending time at home with his wife Dellis and how he didn't realize how much he'd missed his kids until there was a bunch of noise Christmas morning when they were home from college.

He's the kind guy that really wants to get fed up with his job some times. He wrote, "Miller time wouldn't even begin to describe what leaving the station felt like today. I'm at home, it's the weekend, and if I'm lucky, the station won't need another (truck) operator to cover the rain. It's been a long week." But two lines later, you can tell he sincerely loves what he does adding, "You know, if they do need an operator, I'm in."

He loves drink and good food. "The news was on and I was eating dinner. Grilled salmon on a bed of lettuce with ranch dressing, corn on the side and a glass of shiraz from the Barefoot label."

That quote describes this guy for me. A simple pleasure enjoyed simply.

I think it's partially because BFrank works in LA, a place that I desperately want to visit. He often talks of the pain of driving on the freeways during rush hour. Takes pictures of the town and generally shows and speaks of things your average East Coaster doesn't know about Southern California.

Check out my new favorite blog. BFrank appears to be the most content man in the Republic of California. That's a good way to be.

Holiday Wrap

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. The Lady had to work early Christmas morning so we spent Christmas Eve together. We didn't give big presents since we spent all our money going to New York City for a few days earlier in December, but we had a nice evening and Christmas morning regardless. I was at the Butler Homestead by 9 and we opened presents before lunch. I'm holding damn near everything I got in my arms in that Christmas Morning picture. Highlights were a digital picture frame and a big package of Big Red. Oh, and a personalized Bobcats Jersey and some running shoes. We ate lunch and I headed to work for an easy eight hours of holiday pay. I took a bunch of leftovers in with me so I didn't have to eat Chinese.
Christmas night there was a murder in Mint Hill at Rookie's Sports Bar. It's in a newer strip mall on the north side of my hometown. It's weird to cover murders that happen fifty yards away from where you shop for organic potato chips, apples and ass paper. Fellow Mint Hill native Broders and I did our best, "I'm shocked! I can't believe it happened in a quiet place like Mint Hill" impressions. I suppose it is pretty shocking for the average Mint Hillian. It appeared to be some sort of drug deal involving some trashy folks. Gunfire ensued. Hooray!!!I used my final vacation day of the year New Year's Eve. I hate working that night. I always end up physically kicking people off the hood of my sat buggy. One year some dude thought Travers hit a pregnant lady and wanted to kick his ass. By the way, Jim finally put up the Halloween 2006 Party Pics up a couple of months ago. Anyway, kicking drunks off of your work unit is not a great way to celebrate the new year. We began the evening at Blue, a fancy uptown restaurant. We had a nice dinner with friends Mike and Erika. I ordered the whole sea bass with some sort of risotto. The waiter filleted it at the table and it was quite good. The Lady went with some sort of falafel and pita. it looked pretty good but I didn't' try it. I also tried Grolsch beer for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it. We left Blue and dropped by Bill's house for a glass of wine and visitation. I hadn't seen Bill in a while and hadn't seen his wife since their wedding more than two years ago. He also got to meet The Lady and informed me the next day that I out kicked my coverage.

We got home around 11:30 and uncorked the 15 dollar bottle of champagne I picked up earlier in the week. We drank the bottle and went to bed pretty early ending what I think was a spectacular 2007. Except for the Panthers missing the playoffs. That sucked.